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Bennett Jackson Has Torn ACL, Jon Beason Sprained Knee: As feared, New York Giants safety Bennett Jackson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the closing minutes of Saturday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson, who started the game at safety and who had a legitimate shot to start at the position on opening day, will now be lost for the season. Jackson had microfracture surgery last year on his left knee after being signed to the Practice Squad.
“Bennett had been a guy that we had grabbed and he worked very, very hard at that job trying to give us another option there,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “It’s just a sad thing to see it happen, because it’s difficult. He’s tackling a tight end and they get all twisted up on the bottom of a pile. He ends up underneath the tight end, and if you just watch him grimace, it comes when he’s on the ground. So I don’t know exactly what happened.”
The Giants also announced that safety Justin Currie fractured both his right fibula and ankle in the game. He will also be lost for the season.
With the loss of Jackson, Currie, and Mykkele Thompson (who ruptured his right Achilles’ tendon in the first preseason game), the Giants are once again very thin at the safety position. Landon Collins (knee), Nat Berhe (calf), and Cooper Taylor (toe) all missed the game on Saturday but are expected to return soon.
Meanwhile, linebacker Jon Beason suffered a sprained knee and is now considered “week-to-week” on when he might return. That time frame puts into doubt his availability for the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13.
Linebacker Mark Herzlich suffered a concussion in the game; no word yet on when he might return. Linebacker Tony Johnson suffered a knee sprain and is “day-to-day.”
August 23, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Conference Call: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Sunday afternoon:
You know obviously we took some hits last night and we had some injuries and we are trying to decide in the next hour or so what we have and what we are going to do in terms of practice and what our needs might be just in preparing for this next game. I think that there is some information I can give you if you want to ask me specifically about certain people, that is fine but I don’t have the full collection of it and we do have everyone in here today since this is our normal day after the game. This will be an in-season type of a preparation this week so we are trying to make it as structured as much as possible according to what they can look forward to coming into the regular season, so we are doing that.
Having said that, there is no question that we did some things better last night. We were more aggressive, we were more physical, it was a good game. Both teams played a relatively clean game. We were plus-one (in turnovers), the defenses on both sides of the ball forced field goals throughout the majority of the night [and] as I said, there are some teaching issues here because in the one regard, we are lining up to kick a field goal, which would have been just another field goal. They jump offside and because it is less than five yards — we get a new set of downs and that is the series we score the only touchdown of the night, so that was something that certainly our players need to be very much aware of. The other thing I thought that was interesting from the standpoint of situations was we took the ball over on the minus-12, I believe it was a minus-12, with 1:25 to go in the game with one timeout, so we subsequently ran 12 plays and used up our timeout in a sack situation and we were at the 38-yard line for literally four straight snaps knowing full well that in that particular area and I’m talking about say from the 32-yard line beyond the 40-yard line, you’ve got a very important part of the field where decisions are made —difficult decisions are made whether to go for the long field goal, which obviously at stake is field position, whether to try to make a makeable third down and I’m saying something reasonable, or whether to have to pull back and even punt the ball, meaning that you have to have a very good…a punter that has the ability to place the ball in such a situation where you are not going to get a touchback because obviously that is not the circumstance.
Later on in the game when Ryan Nassib was in the game and he pulled the ball down in the second half and ran from the plus-37 to the plus-35, he gave us literally a chance to kick a 53-yard field. Now if we had thrown an incomplete pass or something from that standpoint and the ball would have stayed at the 37, there is no way we were going to kick a field goal even though it was only two more yards or 55 yards and you stretch yourself out a little bit, particularly if there is any kind of wind even kicking a 53-yarder, which the week before we had missed a long field goal and gave Cincinnati outstanding field position, so there were things like that, that came up all night. There was a couple of challenges that we utilized that proved to be good, that we were right. You aren’t always right. In that case, we were and again lots of people had a chance to play [and] lots of people did many, many different things.
We threw the ball probably a little bit more than I would have wanted to throw it, but we had 77 snaps in the game, which was good. We build up some snaps and play time but we still didn’t win possession by very much when you really look at it, not quite two minutes, so there were a bunch of things that happened in the game that were good for us to teach from. There were some outstanding aggressive special teams plays, there were tackles inside the 20, there was a long field goal, we had some very good individual plays on offense, the bench route to James Jones from Nassib which put us down in the 38-yard line and gave us a chance to even think before the half of having an opportunity to score a field goal where it was going to end up being a short gain with a clock play or getting it out of bounds. We had that circumstance, had a couple of decent runs by (Orleans) Darkwa, had a good run by Andre Williams, young Geremy Davis caught a nice ball on the sidelines and turned and tried to make it into more, which was very good. Dwayne Harris got the only touchdown of the night with a low…Ryan put it down low where the draped-over-his-back corner couldn’t get to the ball and Dwayne went down and made that difficult catch and gave us the score there on first and goal from the eight. We had Damontre Moore had a nice sack and forced fumble that we weren’t able to recover. We had the nice knockdown of the pass to the running back Robinson from Beason early in the game. Wade made a deep ball, knocked the ball away from the receiver on the deep post ball. Bromley and Kennard made a very nice stop, Unga made a nice tackle, Moore had a nice sack of Tuel, so there were plays like that that we can look at and say, ‘You know, those are outstanding plays’ and then of course there were plays that weren’t so good and that is what you have to concentrate on trying to improve upon.
Q: Do you have any updates on the health of Bennett Jackson and Jon Beason?
A: Bennett Jackson has an ACL and Jon Beason has a sprained knee.
Q: Is there a timetable for Beason with the sprain and how do you sort of progress from there with that one?
A: That is a tough one, you know. These things are all different. For me, without some doctor or expert telling me what to think in terms of the amount of time out, I’m not going to speculate but all these things end up being week to week and sometimes in these cases, it is longer than you think.
Q: Do you have to prepare now as if you will be without him for week one?
A: I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate on that probably until we see how this week goes and how the doctors have a chance to work with him a few days and maybe then they will have a better opinion about that.
Q: In the case that that does happen, this would be the reason that you have Jameel [McClain], correct? How much does that sort of help to have a veteran at least behind him. That was, I assume the plan or the reason to have a veteran like that around?
A: Well, all those things are true — you answered your own question there. We do have the benefit of a guy that’s played a lot of football and is very good in the huddle — does all those things extremely well. So you hate to think in terms of anything that stretches your depth right at this point in time, but it’s a reality in our league.
Q: With another injury there to a safety, where do things stand with [Nat] Berhe and Landon Collins?
A: Well, we think [Nat] Behre and [Landon] Collins are coming back this week. We hope Cooper Taylor comes back this week as well. Hopefully we’ll get some of those guys back.
Q: Obviously Bennett Jackson played with the first team yesterday. It’s not like you had a lot of first teamers out there late in the fourth quarter; what played into the decision to leave Jackson out there?
A: Well, that’s a good question. The problem is there were two safeties gone in the game as well, so what you were dealing with was very few people left that play the position. You know, Bennett had been a guy that we had grabbed and he worked very, very hard at that job trying to give us another option there, and it’s just a sad thing to see it happen, because it’s difficult. He’s tackling a tight end and they get all twisted up on the bottom of a pile — he ends up underneath the tight end, and if you just watch him grimace, it comes when he’s on the ground. So I don’t know exactly what happened — I haven’t been able to talk to him about that, but what went into it was the numbers situation and unfortunately that… you know, however it works, you can explain it all you want, but we were in a game where there was a forced opportunity more than anything else to have your numbers affected, but when we look at it from any number of players that were in the game that got a lot of snaps, whether it was planned or not, it was good for them. I can tell you that right now. As much as I said going in that we needed to play more, that we needed to see more of a lot of people working together — you know we certainly did get that chance last night.
Q: Where do you move forward now at safety… and cornerback?
A: We just got done saying that three of them are coming back, so that’s where we move forward. We have [Brandon] Meriweather here, we have three guys that we think are going to be able to practice and come back. So that’s where we are. There hasn’t been a lot of numbers available at any time. For whatever reason, there always seems to have been one or two of these guys that’s not able to practice. So in reality, it looks as if we’ll have four [safeties]. Maybe, and again I’m just speculating because we’re going to have roughly two days to try to figure out who can practice and what we can do, so that’s where we are, guys. Don’t ask me something that I can’t answer. I’m trying to do the best I can for you, and this is what it is.
Q: What have you seen from [Brandon] Meriweather? He got about 30 snaps last night — any sense on what he is right now?
A: Well, he’s a veteran safety that we know the style of play that he is best utilized in. He got his feet wet last night and I think he’ll improve and be better the next week.
Q: Justin Halley only played seven snaps there — is he injured as well?
A: No, no he wasn’t.
Q: What did you see from Uani Unga last night?
A: Aggressive, very good on special teams. Made a couple of nice plays at the mike backer position, and he seems to be a physical player.
Q: After looking at the tape, how did the offensive line, and in particular Ereck Flowers, come out of last night?
A: We thought he played well technically. Very sound, and he is improving. If you watch some of the run game, you see him move people off the ball. He did a nice job of that. He and [Justin] Pugh got involved in a couple of nice twist exchanges where we picked up in pass protection. You saw him aggressively go back and recover that ball on the ground, I know he’s listening because we’ve been harping on that. Let the officials tell you that it was an incomplete pass, and don’t let it lay on the ground. We’ve shown examples of that, so I think that there’s no doubt that each one of these experiences he’s grown and benefited from.
Q: How about [Geoff] Schwartz? What have you seen from him?
A: He played pretty well when he was playing at the guard spot — I don’t think quite as good at the tackle spot, but it was his first time out and he did get a lot of snaps, so it had to help him.
Q: Do you expect [Victor] Cruz and [Rueben] Randle back this week?
A: I really don’t know. The thing with Rueben has really confused me — he’s been able to handle this so well over the years, and yet this circumstance has been bothersome. There was so much speculation going in about having these people work together. We haven’t really seen them work together yet and we’re this far into camp, so… and the same thing with Victor. We’re just going to have to — when they tell us they can go, they can go.
Q: It’s still just tendinitis for Rueben [Randle] or are they worried it’s something else?
A: Nope. That’s basically what I’m being told.
Q: What’s the plan going forward here with [Geoff] Schwartz and the offensive line?
A: Keep playing them all. Keep playing them all. Watch, watch. I’m not going to verbally give you any… what’s the plan? The plan is to let them play and practice and see where we can go and figure out exactly who are the best five. That’s the plan.
Q: What have you seen from Markus Kuhn so far in these first two preseason games? We’ve seen him with the first team almost all summer. What has he done to earn that trust in you guys?
A: Well, he’s a big, strong guy. We’ve talked an awful lot about stopping the run, and he can hold the point in there, which he’s done over and over. He’s very smart, and so we look at him as a guy that can anchor down in there and can knock back off the ball. And he’s pretty much done that.
August 23, 2015 Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls with the following players are available on BigBlueInteractive.com:
Article on the New York Giants Defense: Jason Pierre-Paul could still help Giants pass rush by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News